Savills – warehouse take-up doubles + Amazon taking all the warehouses?

Largely as a result of the growth of e-commerce but partly as a result of the uncertainties around Brexit, average take-up of warehouse space has almost doubled in the last nine years to 30 million square feet according to estate agents Savills.

The build-to-suit warehouse construction method has dominated this growth, with this accounting for up to 50% of all transactions in 2016 but this was largely down to a lack of speculative units in the time period. As more speculative construction takes place, so Savills believe that this is likely to change in the coming year.

Kevin Mofid, head of industrial research, said: “For those who witnessed the last recession back in 2008, there is still residual nervousness around speculative development. However, 10 years later we are looking at a very different landscape where vacancy rates are as low as 3 per cent in and around London and the South East and there is simply not enough supply to satisfy the current demand.

“Assuming occupier demand doesn’t fall dramatically and there isn’t a significant increase in second hand supply, we believe that this is the perfect level of development to sustain the market moving forward.”

Richard Sullivan, national head of industrial & logistics at Savills, said: “We believe that the currently level of speculative development remains just right to fulfil outstanding demand. However it is important that we continue to respond to occupier requirements and provide the right space at the right time and in the correct locations. Vacancy rates of up to 10 per cent can be tolerated and in fact will likely redress the current rental imbalance we are currently experiencing in supply starved markets.”

Separately, news reports suggested that the government, when exploring the potential to book frozen and chilled food to stockpile food ahead of Brexit, discovered that all available capacity had been booked already. Rumour has it that the capacity has been taken by Amazon, ahead of a possible grocery launch later this year.